Being an actor isn’t easy. I’d like to act full time but right now working the night shift at my local Wal-Mart is what pays… part of the bills. I got three roommates to afford my apartment, we all bond on the impossible dream of catching our big break in the MCU.
Frankly I was through the moon when I finally got called back to do some work as one of the main characters in an indie film. Up until then, all my ‘acting’ skill was as an extra or a dead body and I was dying to actually show what I could do, you know? I wasn’t gonna get paid well but this could’ve been a stepping stone to greater things.
Shooting was to take place over two weeks. I was to play Seth Taylor, childhood friend to the main character who always wanted something a little more but never had the nerve. Plotline was basic, college girl was being stalked by an unknown figure who may or may not be supernatural, turns out it’s a group of satanists who need to sacrifice her on the new moon to achieve their sinister goals.
The night before shooting began all of us actors had drinks together. It was great getting to know each other. The star of the show was Abby, and I don’t really believe in love at first sight… but I believe in instant chemistry. And I knew off the bat Abby and I were compatible. She had this spark, this love for life and for acting. She’d already gotten a few small roles, even a guest role on a TV show as the victim of the week. I never felt so immediately comfortable around someone else.
Got to meet a few other people too, Geoffrey, who was going to be Abby’s boyfriend/first victim of the movie. He had one of those big laughs that could get a bit grating after a while, but he was nice enough. Liberty, who was going to be Abby’s best gal friend, she had such a morbid sense of humor and had us laughing all night. Ricky, CJ, Garrett, all gonna be various cult members, and Colin, the cult leader. I wasn’t really sure about the casting of Colin, he seemed so quiet, but I realized quite quickly when he stood up why he was cast- dude was nearly seven feet tall. I’m fucking five foot four, I had to crane my neck up to see his face.
Our director/writer/producer was Duncan Turner. He seemed pretty nice, a bit nervous, but nice. Clearly had a boner for Abby, he couldn’t tell her no to anything. I tried to tell him I was a trans man, he seemed to be trying to avoid the subject, then Abby brings up the idea of working that into my character’s backstory and he immediately grabbed his copy of the script to start scribbling in new lines.
Yeah, it was clear this was his first movie, but frankly I didn’t care. This was the first time I had a role with more than two lines. I was pumped.
First two days of shooting went off perfectly. Despite my initial doubts about Colin, he came right into the role of the disturbing cult leader Damion. And although the script was a little cliché, a little ridiculous, it was still fun.
It was fun. Until things got… weird. And by weird I mean someone got killed.
It was day three. We mostly used Duncan’s old college as a set, and we were filming the scene where Abby’s character Nancy is being chased around a theater all set up for a college production of The Phantom of the Opera. What was meant to happen was I was supposed to trip CJ and we were supposed to run off while he was stunned.
What happened was, I tripped CJ, I heard the sound of something cracking, and I looked up just in time for a giant fucking spotlight to come crashing down. CJ opened his eyes just in time for it to squash his head like a grape. Blood and head gore exploded everywhere, covering me, Abby, and the set around us.
I threw up. Duncan screamed bloody murder. Abby just stared at CJ’s twitching body.
Yeah, holy shit. I’ve never seen a dead body outside of a funeral before and uh… yeah, had a lot to talk about with my therapist that week.
It was just an accident, of course. No one was up there. Something was a little loose, and CJ was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That was our third take of that scene, I was declared not responsible for CJ’s death. And uh, we marched on with filming.
Yeah, it’s cold, and I probably should’ve jumped ship then. But we only had so much time we were allowed to film at the college and Duncan invested a lot of his own money into this movie. Not to mention if I did leave, I’d forfeit my paycheck. We managed to reshoot the scene with Garrett and at the parking lot instead. Granted, Garrett nearly got hit by a goddamn car because some dumb bitch was driving drunk instead of taking an Uber, but he dodged it last second.
I should’ve known the shoot was cursed though. Like nothing as bad as CJ happened until the last day, but things were always off. Garrett kept showing up drunk and ended up breaking his ankle. Thankfully he’d already shot all his scenes but Jesus Christ dude, it’s still work. Ricky just stopped showing up, fucked off to god knows where. Geoffrey cut his arm really bad during his murder scene and it got infected. One of our dude extras got a little creepy with Liberty and she ended up breaking his nose. I could go on. Not to mention I started having some really fucked up nightmares.
I’d always struggled with nightmares. My combo of meds make my dreams super fucking vivid, but this was different. I swore I was really there when I dreamed that Garrett’s feet were getting sawed off. Or when worms and maggots started crawling out of Geoffrey’s cut arm, silencing his screams when they all filled his mouth and choked him to death. Just. Really fucked up shit.
I spent a lot of time with Abby to distract me from all the weird shit going on. We’d have drinks at her place, we’d talk everything from our acting dreams to the name of our favorite Neopet when we were kids. God, I could’ve talked about anything with her. I felt so safe and comfortable around her.
Maybe I should’ve picked up quicker that nearly all our male extras bailed. Or just didn’t turn up. There was something very wrong with this shoot and it’s on me that I didn’t realize something was wrong.
Last day. Last shoot. Final scene. Seth was going to save Nancy from being sacrificed by Damion, and we’d kill him together. It was originally going to be shot in Duncan’s basement, but the morning of I got a text, saying Abby was going to pick me up and that things had changed.
She arrived about an hour from sundown, already in costume judging by the fake blood all over her t-shirt. I jumped in the car and asked what was up.
“Colin has a better basement, more space for camera junk and stuff. Duncan was totally cool with it and will meet us there. Apparently it’ll be a one take deal, so you think you can do it?”
I gave a double thumbs up. Abby smiled, my heart melted, and she offered me a bottle of water. So my throat wouldn’t be dry during shoots.
I didn’t realize I was drugged until I was almost asleep, and of course by then it was too late.
I woke up tied to a chair, some sort of cloth stuffed in my mouth to gag me. The room was completely dark and smelled like rotting meat. In front of me, I saw Duncan laying on the floor, his head was bleeding but I heard him groan. I wondered why the hell he wasn’t getting up but then I saw the pools of blood around his hands and feet.
He’d been nailed to the goddamn floor.
When Abby walked into sight it hit me like a sledgehammer that the blood on her shirt probably wasn’t fake.
She waved her hand and candles all around the room lit up. I would’ve screamed if I could’ve, but all I could do was stare in horror at the bodies nailed to all the walls. Garrett, Ricky, CJ’s headless body, all the other extras that stopped showing up, other guys I didn’t recognize. All of them were dead with their chests ripped open.
Abby came beside me and tested the ropes on my wrists to make sure they were secure. “You comfortable? They aren’t too tight or anything?” She asked.
I stared at her, I couldn’t believe this was happening. Abby nodded before removing the gag. “Right, sorry. Can’t talk while gagged.”
I swallowed all the spit in my mouth before I said, “Why are you doing this?”
“Because he needs it. Otherwise he’ll die. And I won’t let my boyfriend die. You’re just here so you have an alibi, so it’s not pinned on you. Cuz I really like you, Logan. And I’m sorry you have to witness this, but if it gets too much, just close your eyes. I had to at first too.”
I was going to ask why the hell her ‘boyfriend’ needed something when I realized something was hanging from the ceiling that was not another body.
It crawled down one of the walls, its unnaturally long limbs jointed in three different places. It had six arms and four legs, and was naked. Each of its pale fingers ended in an inch long claw. It was the most inhuman thing I have ever seen.
But its head was human, even if its neck was almost two feet long. Colin’s head. Colin’s head was on this thing’s body, and as it looked up at me I swear its eyes looked hungry. Abby patted its shoulder and shook her head. “Leave him alone, babe. He’s my friend,” She said.
Colin looked at her before bobbing its head up and down and it scrambled over to the awakening Duncan.
“Wha… what’s going on…” Duncan’s eyes fluttered open as Colin’s head hovered above his own. His face went white. “Oh- oh my god, what the f-”
One of Colin’s limbs shot forward and its claws unzipped Duncan’s chest like a winter jacket, his guts spilling out everywhere. Duncan’s scream will never leave me. Colin’s mouth opened, revealing a mouthful of janky sharp teeth before he bit into Duncan’s guts, I think I saw him pull out an intestine before I listened to Abby and closed my eyes.
Duncan didn’t scream for much longer, but the chewing and swallowing sounds were impossible to block out. When it was all quiet, I finally opened my eyes. Duncan’s torso was hollowed out, his eyes staring lifelessly at the ceiling.
Colin looked normal again, just your average guy. Abby patted his back, kissed his gore covered cheek, and he walked upstairs. She looked at me and I had to ask one more thing:
“What the hell are you two?”
Abby laughed quietly.
“I’m a witch. And as for Colin… he’s… unknown.”
With that, she walked upstairs and out of my life.
The cops came soon enough, I guess Duncan’s screams carried enough, or maybe Abby called them. I was taken to the hospital and thankfully I was just considered a victim that these two crazy motherfuckers hadn’t gotten around to. There was twelve bodies in that basement.
Maybe Abby cursed the shoot herself, maybe it was just never meant to go right. Either way, Abby and Colin are gone, and I don’t think I’ll ever see them again. If I’m quiet for too long I swear I can hear that chewing echoing in my ears.
I did get paid though. Dunno by who considering how very not alive Duncan is, but I just got the money wired into my account today.
I guess Abby didn’t want my time wasted on what probably would’ve been an okay movie, had not most of the cast got murdered and eaten by her boyfriend.